Extru-Tech, Inc: Aquatic feed extrusion overview
Founded in 1985, Extru-Tech, Inc has grown into a diversified corporation that designs and builds extrusion processing equipment for a wide range of industries and applications, including the highly diverse aquatics feed industry.
Certainly, formulation changes, physical characteristics of aquatic feed and higher production rates have impacted the industry in recent years. Yet, Extru-Tech has adapted with new products and technology that simply can't be matched by lower-priced, imitation machines.
In 2016, Extru-Tech further enhanced its position in aquatic feed extrusion by hiring Dana Nelson, a renowned aquatics feed producer, as an Aquaculture Specialist. Unlike aquaculture specialists with competitive companies, Nelson offers more than 30 years of end user experience as one of three owner partners in Nelson & Son's, Inc, the original developers and producers of Silver Cup Feeds.
As Nelson is quick to remind customers, the aquatic feed industry entails a wide range of markets that demand everything from micro pellets and shrimp feeds to specialised feeds for recirculating aquaculture systems. Hence, where Extru-Tech really excels, he says, is with evolving new products, as well as difficult-to-produce and challenging aquatic products that simply can't be produced with lesser machines.
Realising that aquatic feed production is often a low-cost/low margin business, Extru-Tech has also developed a broad line of equipment to improve efficiency and lower production costs. Among them is the company's Maxxim Series high-capacity, single-screw extruders that are capable of 20-to-30 percent production rate increases over previous models with the same barrel diameter.
Aquatic feed manufacturers have also benefitted from Extru-Tech's Advanced Feature Dryers, which offer faster, easier clean-out and maintenance, as well as the company's Advanced Density Technology, which counteracts the challenges associated with processing low-fat sinking aquatic diets.
One of the newest, most significant innovations from Extru-Tech is the Advanced Feature Knife, which self levels and self adjusts the knife to the face of the die as it wears, providing up to 10 times the previous life span. That translates into better 'uptime' and 'yield' performance, because the knife doesn't become dull over time, and less time lost during shut down to change knives.
Today, Extru-Tech continues to look to the future and evolving markets, not just by developing equipment to control cost of production, but in meeting increased quality requirements and the use of new ingredients.
That includes developing equipment and techniques to meet sustainability demands and the evolving transition from fish meal to novel ingredients, such as vegetable proteins, algae meals, insect meal and single-cell proteins.
Of course, all of these innovative ingredients behave much differently in an extruder, which means aquatic feed manufacturers need more than quality equipment. They also need the expertise of a company like Extru-Tech behind it … now and well into the future.